Wetland (September 2012)

Wetland creates subdivision opportunities

The recent prolonged wet spell has given us the opportunity to see what areas quickly cover with surface water and retain it for some time.  These were perhaps natural wetland areas before the farm was drained to increase capacity. 

Such areas, with regular water flow, have the possibility to be retired and revegetated into wetlands as a means of protecting the environment.  Wetlands are recognised as being of high value and, as such, qualify for subdivision rights in many regions.  Rehabilitation may require filling drains – or perhaps a low dam – and some planting but often these areas revert naturally once they are fenced off and kept wet for a period.  Most District Plans recognise the importance of wetlands along with stream margins and native bush in their District Plan Rules. 

Protection of our water resource has become a big issue and this is more significant to farmers than most.  The subdivision credits on offer may make it financially worthwhile as well.

In the Western Bay wetland areas need only be half a hectare – around an acre – to create an additional subdivision lot.  If you have at least 250m of stream running through your land and you have, or are prepared to plant, natives along its margins you will also qualify for a lot.  Part of Waikato District – previously Franklin – has a similar rule at present for wetland and native bush areas.

When Waipa District recently announced its Proposed District Plan there was focus on protecting significant natural features and view shafts.  Although this Plan is in its early stages it seems that if you have many features registered on your property you will likely gain a subdivision right – but you might have to transfer these rights off-site, as lots can only be created on certain properties with lower land class and landscape values.

Other areas in this region such as Thames-Coromandel, Waikato, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako, South Waikato, Rotorua, Whakatane and Opotiki Districts all now recognise the benefits of protecting these ecological features to some extent and offer some subdivision benefits.  As rules changes make subdivision much more difficult in rural areas, the protection of natural features and other attributes of value to the community will become one of the only ways to subdivide lifestyle blocks, I believe.

If your land has a feature similar to those mentioned in this article and you want to subdivide your property don't hesitate to give me a call.  I am happy to discuss the situation with you to see if it is worth pursuing.

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel.  For further information call 0800 268 632 or email


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